I've made a start on number 2 of my New Year Resolutions, which is to get rid of some unwanted books. I haven't actually parted with any yet, but I had a really good sort out of my shelves the other night, and I've pulled loads out that I just don't fancy reading, plus a few recent ones that have been read, either all the way through, or abandoned at some point.
I've been feeling really overwhelmed by the amount of books I have, and the fact that I have very little time to actually read them, plus the shelves were looking cluttered and untidy, which I don't like. I've been wanting to make some space on them for a while for a couple of reasons - one, to make an area where I could put whatever crochet I'm working on, out of everyone's way but where it's still in easy reach for me, and two, to make a space for Mischief to hide, because Junior is at the "must-chase-the-cat!" phase and I want Mischief to be able to get away from him, but stay in the room if he wants to.
So the only thing I could think of was to start getting rid of books, even though I haven't read them. I was a bit annoyed that I was having to do this, but as I started taking books off the shelves, I actually began to find it quite liberating. I read the synopsis of each one, and there were so many where I thought "why did I ever buy this book?". There are a lot of the 'chick-lit' type of genre, which I don't really enjoy at all. There are also some novels which I've kept because I felt like I 'should' read them - Moby Dick, for example, or Heart Of Darkness, or Brighton Rock. I 'should' read them, but I don't necessarily 'want' to read them. So I'm not going to. Life's too short to read a book you don't enjoy!
One of the things I've realised is that my reading tastes have really narrowed down, and become quite particular. I think it's really good to read a wide variety of styles and genres, if that's what you want to do, but I also don't think it's a bad thing if you only want to focus on one or two.
This year, I think I'm going to focus on the following:
1) Books set in Scotland, particularly the Highlands/Islands/West Coast. You might as well read about places that you love! I absolutely MUST buy every other book that Linda Gillard has written; I enjoyed Emotional Geology so much (I don't think all her novels are set in Scotland, but I'll make an exception for her!). I also want to read Ann Cleeves Shetland series, and a series by Peter May, which I think is set on the Isle of Lewis.
2) Non-fiction books about Scotland! I already have several books about Scottish history, events like Culloden and the Highland Clearances. I feel like I owe it to my favourite part of the world to learn about and understand it's history.
3) Books set in / about Scandinavia, particularly Norway. As above, Norway is another country which I love so I'm keen to explore some Scandinavian fiction or possibly non-fiction.
4) Ghost stories. I love a good ghost story, me! And if it's set in Scotland or Norway (like the one I've just finished) all the better! That's not essential though, I just want a good, creepy, unnerving ghost story, something along the lines of The Woman In Black by Susan Hill.
I'm not saying that I won't read other books which don't fit into these categories, but I definitely feel that the above list is where my reading interest lies. It's been really good to finally acknowledge that, and like I said, quite liberating to part with the books which don't fit the bill any more.
I've updated my 'Books I've Read' page up to the end of 2014, although at this time of writing I've only listed the books, but there are no photos or reviews. I'll try and finish it off, if I can remember the books! I don't think I'm going to continue with that page any more - I think this year I'll just write my book reviews (if you can call them that) as normal blog posts, as and when I can get around to it.
All of the books in these photos are the ones I'm giving away - 86 in total, if I've counted correctly. If you see anything you like, please get in touch - I'd be more than happy to send a book or two your way. If you wanted to help out with a small contribution to the postage (via a Paypal donation), I wouldn't say no ;-)